This dictionary may be copied in whole or in part only if credit is given. If you want to link it to your site or put it on your site, please let me know by emailing me at email@example.com. All constructive corrections, additions, suggestions, and comments welcome (although I don't promise to use them!). Flames, however, can be sent to dev/null.
Words that are in blue and underlined are hyperlinked to the definitions of those words elsewhere in this Dictionary. A list of updates can be found here.
Since this Dictionary was last updated 11/29/99, and I've received piles and piles of corrections and additions since that time, I wish to assure my readers that I will begin a revision soon. Probably sometime in November, since October is hugely busy for me. Please be patient. --Rebecca, 10/15/00
--AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, a radical activist AIDS group which tends to use rather novel tactics, like putting giant condoms on national monuments and throwing the ashes of lovers and friends who have died of AIDS onto the White House lawn. Michaelangelo Signorile is a founder and major player in ACT-UP.
--a mode of thought found in some cultures in which, in male-male sexual activity, the only one who is perverted is the bottom. In this mode of thought, a man who would allow himself to get fucked is thought weak and womanish, whereas the top retains his manhood because he is doing the fucking.
--a lesbian who is neither very masculine nor very feminine. The push for lesbians to look androgynous came during the 1970s as part of lesbian feminism, and was a backlash against the Butch/Femme social structure of the working class bar scene. See also flannel-shirt dyke and PC dyke.
--big furry guys who like to scratch their backs against trees. This word has also been spotted referring to dykes, presumably ones who are big, butch, and burly, though perhaps not so furry.
--in the Nazi concentration camps, the black triangle (equilateral, worn point down) was used to mark "undesirables," such as prostitutes, the mentally ill, and the retarded. Lesbians in the camp probably would have also worn the black triangle, although there is some debate about it. It is sometimes worn as a pride symbol by lesbians.
--a reference to the notion that all homophobia would end if everyone who was gay or bisexual would turn blue (or wear a blue dot on their forehead) for just one day. This idea is duscussed in the short story "Am I Blue?" by Bruce Coville, where it is referred to as the Third Great Gay Fantasy (Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence, ed. Marion Dane Bauer, HarperTrophy, a short story collection for LGB youth), and in Bingo by Rita Mae Brown. Musician Tori Amos also used this reference in the song "Hey Jupiter" on Boys for Pele when she asked, "So are you gay? Are you blue?" (Tori Amos, while straight, is a great friend to the gay community and has been since she started playing in gay bars at the age of 12.)
-- the name of the Society for Creative Anachronism Clan or Household devoted to the study of homosexuality in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and to facilitating the socializing of the SCA's gay, lesbian, and bisexual members. The erroneous story is that blue feathers were worn in the hair of female Italian trubadours, as an indication that it was a symbol of a preference for the "gentler sex," and that this information was found in Judy Grahn's Another Mother Tongue. This is manifestly untrue, as the information never appeared in any copy of Ms. Grahn's book, and we have it on very good authority (of certain people who were at the founding of the Clan) that the symbol was chosen specifically because it had no known associations. The symbol of the blue feather has now moved outside of the SCA.
--someone who is attracted to both males and females. Some people prefer the terms omnisexual or pansexual instead, because "bi" means two, and there actually are more sexes than two (see intersexual for more information on this).
--1) in general (especially among gay men), the one who prefers to be the recipient or to "catch." 2) in the leather community, someone who is usually a masochist or a submissive. There are many kinds of bottoms. See also Top.
--1) (adj) describing a relationship in which one person is femme and one is butch, and describing the dynamic between them 2) the social structure prevalent in working-class lesbian bars up through the early 1970s. This structure was strictly enforced by peer pressure. One had to be either a butch or a femme, and butches only dated femmes and femmes only dated butches. There was a lot of backlash against this structure in the 1970s when lesbian feminism emerged, and for a long time butches and femmes were absolutely politically incorrect, and were likely to be shunned by the feminist lesbian community. Butch/femme is starting to make a comeback. In its new form, it is not rigidly enforced: women are butch or femme because it is their own personality, and nothing else. Butch-on-butch and femme-on-femme are no longer discriminated against. There is, however, still very strong anti-butch/femme sentiment.
--a gay man of the type who lives in or frequents The Castro. They all dress very similarly, tending towards very masculine attire and pumped-up, buffed good looks. The style is, in many ways, set by Tom of Finland.
--one of several parties scattered around the country that are held to raise money for AIDS research. Circuit parties are sometimes criticised because of the amount of unsafe sex and drug use which supposedly goes on at them.
--a lesbian group launched in 1955 by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. The initial emphasis of DoB was on socialization and community, but it slowly involved itself in law reform and education. DoB, named for a fictional contemporary of Sappho, published the newsletter The Ladder.
--a vaguely-phallus-shaped device used for sexual gratification. Actually, they come in lots of shapes, from very-realistic penis-shape, to vegetables like corn cobs and zucchini, to dolphins (the non-representational ones are used by lesbians who don't care for phallic shapes).
--someone who enjoys dominating another person in a Domination and Submission scene. A Dom may or may not be a Sadist. Dom is masculine, Domme and Dominatrix are feminine. Frequently used interchangeably with Top.
--a gay man who dresses as a woman for pleasure and/or performance. Or, to quote To Wong Foo, With Love, Julie Newmar, "When a gay man has way too much fashion sense for one gender, he is a drag queen." It is usually polite to refer to a drag queen as "she" when she is in drag, and "he" when he is not.
--a lesbian who is usually vegetarian and usually either New Age or Neopagan and has a tendency to change her name to something like "Sparrow" or "Lavender CrystalPower." Earth-mother type, wears Birkenstocks (unless she's too vegetarian to wear leather), varies from extremely flaky to very-nice-and-sensible-but-who-eats-too-much-tofu-with-bean-sprouts-for-most-people's-tastes.
--trans and gay (not to mention communist, feminist & other...) activist. Leslie Feinberg was born female, but has lived as a male. Sie considers hirself a transgendered lesbian. Speaker and author of Stone Butch Blues, Transgender Warriors, and the forthcoming Drag King Dreams.
--the narrow barrier island, off Long Island, NY, where The Pines, a resort favored by A-list gay men, where at least one circuit party takes place, and where lots of young handsome hunks go to party in general
--usually a very casual lesbian who is neither butch nor femme, but is generally very capable; so called for the habit of wearing plaid flannel shirts whenever the weather permits. They tend to be outdoors-types. There are flannel-shirt butches and femmes, but not as many of them, since the stereotype of the flannel-shirt dyke emerged during the 1970s when "The Uniform" for lesbians was jeans and a flannel shirt.
--a set of (usually 6) rings of aluminum or some other substance in the colors of the rainbow. Worn on one's person or adorning some personal object, they usually indicate that the owner is gay (or gay-friendly). The rings are based on the rainbow flag, a gay pride symbol. A subtlety sometimes ignored is that if the red ring is towards the wearer's right hand, they are gay. If it is towards their left hand, they are straight and gay-friendly.
friend of Dorothy
or sister of Dorothy
--a code word for a gay person, originating from The Wizard of Oz
--homosexual. The term originated as a code word for homosexuals when queer became too well-known. Previous to this usage, "gay" or "gey" had been used since at least Victorian times to refer to sex, usually of an illicit or publicly disapproved-of variety. "Geying it up" once meant visiting a brothel.
--gay radar, the sense by which queers identify other queers
--the social, mental, and emotional state associated with sex (sex being purely physical) and sex role stereotypes. Gender is masculine, feminine, neuter, or some combination thereof. It is not, as it is frequently used, synonymous with sex.
--a butch who likes to wear fancy suits, tuxedos, etc, frequently. Think kd lang.
--a lesbian who never has had and never intends to have sex with a man. Sometimes they also get points for never sleeping with bisexuals. Entirely too many of them get terribly self-righteous about it, and look down on bisexuals and lesbians who have had sex with men.
--the translation of an Arabic euphemism for a female homosexual, apparently because many female dancers are/were lesbian (given a few days, I may even get the transliteration of the Arabic word)
--the code used primarily by gay men, but also by some lesbians, when cruising to signal to potential partners exactly what they are seeking. Each color of bandanna or hanky signifies a different sexual act, and is usually worn in the back pocket. If the hanky is worn on the left, it means that the wearer is a top or wishes to give a particular thing; on the right, that the wearer is a bottom or wishes to receive a particular thing. eg: In lesbian hanky code, light pink signifies a dildo or strap-on. If a light pink hanky is worn on the left, then the wearer is packing or likes to wear a dildo. If the hanky is worn on the right, then the wearer likes to get fucked with a dildo.
--the transgender pronoun equivalent to him or her and his or hers. Transgendered individuals (such as Leslie Feinberg) that neither conventional pronoun quite seem to fit are frequently referred to by the transgender pronoun.
--the belief that two of a kind beats a straight
--an extreme irrational hatred or fear of homosexuals
--a person born with ambiguous genitalia. Thousands of babies every year are born with ambiguous genitalia, and are frequently reshaped by surgeons, often without the parents' consent or even knowledge. These operations can result in emotional trauma to the child, and loss of sensation and orgasmic ability.
in the life
--being out as queer and living in the queer community
--the Greek letter which transliterates as L. To the Greeks, it was a symbol of justice and equality, taking its shape from the scales of justice. It was adopted as a gay pride/gay rights symbol by the Mattachine Society in the 1970s, and is an international symbol of gay pride. Mattachine adopted it because of the sybolism of Justice and because they had been told that the arny of one of the Greek city-states used to paint the lambda on their shields, and members of Greek armies, because of the male-only environment they lived in, frequently took male lovers.
--a color associated with gay men since Ancient Greece, where the Greek word for lavender also meant a gay man
--a (usually gay) man who is a member of the Leather/BDSM community
--a homosexual woman. The word derives from the Greek island of Lesbos, where the poetess Sappho ran a school for young women, and wrote often erotic poetry about love between women. She is considered by many lesbians to have been a lesbian, although she was married and had children.
--1)a lesbian who behaves in a very feminine manner, not so much because she is a femme, but to distance herself from dykedom. These types tend to not even like the word "lesbian" and be very closeted. They tend to run ads that say things like, "Feminine-acting woman seeks feminine-acting woman for romance. No drugs, smokers, or butches." They are also considered irritating by dykes. 2)synonym for High Femme
--a critically acclaimed photographer who photographs many subjects, including seascapes, flowers, men having anal sex, leatherscenes, and naked children. His name is frequently mentioned in the debate on the National Endowment for the Arts.
--Spanish word meaning sissy or faggot, usually used as a derrogative term. It appears to derive from a word meaning "changeling," and may be related to the word for "butterfly." Maricona, the feminine form, is sometimes used to mean dyke.
--a gay man, usually used in sentences like, "Get over yourself, Mary!"
--founded in Los Angeles in 1950 under the leadership of Harry Hay. The name was taken from a medieval secret fraternity. The Society was started by a small group of left-wing gay men, and pioneered the notion that homosexuals were a legitimate minority in a hostile mainstream culture.
--a drag queen. This has its origins in American Black culture, where "Miss Fine Thang" meant a woman who thought a lot of herself and had a big attitude, thereby making it perfect for many drag queens.
--Male to Male. Some female to male transsexuals dislike the term FTM, because they feel that they were never female, and were always male, and that all this surgery is merely cosmetic, to make it clear to everyone else that they are male.
--having it announced publicly that one is queer by someone other than oneself, usually when one would rather stay in the closet. Outing has come into use as a political weapon, and is strongly advocated and used by Michaelangelo Signorile most prominently. Mr. Signorile makes it his business to know the orientations of important people, especially in politics, and if they don't vote the way he thinks they should, he announces their queerness to the world.
--among lesbians, to wear a strap-ondildo, usually under one's clothes. Also, to put something (such as a pair of rolled-up sweatsocks or a cut up Kotex) in the underwear or shorts to achieve the illusion that there is something else there.
--a lesbian who is very careful in her language not to offend those people who are currently the pet minorities. They are mostly andro dykes because butch and femme are still very politically incorrect. Some of them become very dogmatic and absolutist about who is and who is not one of the "worthy" minorities.
--a color frequently associated with homosexuals
--the symbol gay men were made to wear in the Nazi concentration camps. It became a symbol of gay pride, and was first used to remind some homophobic Jews that homosexuals were in the concentration camps, too.
--at one time, worn by both men and women to signify that one was queer. Usually worn on the left hand.
--(v) any BDSM activity
poofter, poof, puff
--a flamboyant gay man. Used mostly in Great Britain.
--post operative transsexual, one who has completed all of the surgeries he or she intends to have
--an activist organization, very loosely organized. Founded by Michaelangelo Signorile, Queer Nation tends to attract young liberal radicals, and tends to chant things like "We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used To It!"
--a gay pride symbol, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, originally having eight stripes: hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, which stood for sexuality, life, healing, the sun, nature or serenity, art, harmony, and spirit. The hot pink stripe was dropped when flag makers couldn't find suitable material, and the indigo stripe was dropped to make the flag more balanced, so that three stripes could hang on either side of lampposts at Pride Parades.
--being gay. When Bank of America was acquired by NationsBank, and representatives were sent from SF to NationsBank's headquarters in North Carolina, an amusing request was sent back. The home office asked that no more employees with "San Fracisco accents" be sent. One can only assume that this is a new codephrase for being gay.
--ancient Greek poetess and headmistress of a school for young women on the island of Lesbos. Sappho wrote poetry, much of which is now lost, about her female lovers, who were frequently students at her finishing school. She had a daughter, Kleïs, to whose father she may or may not have been married; there is some debate on this point.
Saturday night butch
--a term from the 1950s and 60s, when butch/femme was the norm in lesbian bars, this means that a person was not a real butch, but only dressed up as a butch on the weekends. Women who were always butch and couldn't hide it looked down on these people as posers. Today, Saturday night butches are no longer really around, because they're all andro dykes instead.
--(1) a subculture, as in "the club scene" (2) in BDSM, the arranged and negotiated sex or play; the framework (e.g. a 'cop scene' is one in which one or more of the players takes the role of a cop) or period of time (e.g. "Master Bob praised his submissive before ending the scene.") in which BDSM activity takes place. Used more loosely, it means any non-vanilla sex act.
--physical plumbing or XX or XY chromosomes. There are an estimated 5 sexes by one researcher's count: Male, Merm, Herm, Ferm, and Female. Merms, Herms, and Ferms are intersexuals. Herm is a hermaphrodite with one teste and one ovary and external sex organs that are somewhere in between male and female. A Merm has testes but ambiguously-shaped genitalia. A Ferm has ovaries but ambiguously shaped genitalia. Some people are born with chromosomes opposite to their genital sex. Jamie Lee Curtis, for example, has XY chromosomes, making her chromosomally male, while she has unambiguously female genitals. In any case, sex is purely physical.
--the transgender pronoun equivalent to he or she. Transgendered individuals (such as Leslie Feinberg) that neither conventional pronoun quite seem to fit are frequently referred to by the transgender pronoun.
--a very masculine woman, usually to the point that she is mistaken for a man frequently. The term comes from African American slang, in which "stone" means "very." It has come to have other meanings as well. A butch can be sexually stone, as in, not being able to permit herself to be touched on the genitals for sex; emotionally stone, meaning that she has locked away her emotions and has trouble acknowledging or expressing them; or physically stone, having trouble being touched at all. A stone butch is usually some combination of all of these. One stone butch summed up hir essence with the statement, "It is a cool crawling sensation that causes a roaring rushing of white sound in the ears."
-- 1)a femme lesbian who never tries to flip or "melt" her stone butch lover, but prefers to pleasure her lover by taking a passive role in sex 2)a femme lesbian who does not like to be touched, much like a stone butch
--the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the late 1960s on Christopher Street, Greenwich Village, New York, which was raided by police on the night of June 28th, 1969. The queers in the bar (mostly butches, femmes, leathermen, leatherdykes, and drag queens) fought back, trapping police inside, breaking windows, and setting fire to the bar. Rioting continued for five days. These riots are generally considered to be the birth of the gay pride movement, although there were groups before that, such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis.
--a young pre-opFTMTS who was living as a male. His birth sex was discovered, and he was raped by two young men. They threatened to kill him if he reported the rape. He did report it, and they killed him and his girlfriend.
three dollar bill
--as in, "queer as a three dollar bill." Meaning that the person is family.
--referring to the coming out episode of the TV show Ellen, wherein Ellen Morgan's new friend who has just revealed herself to be a lesbian makes a crack about if she had converted one more person, she would have gotten a toaster. Ellen, deep in denial of her own sexuality, says that if that's gay humor, she doesn't get it. Later, Ellen goes to the airport to find her new friend and tell her "I got the toaster joke." At the end, lesbian rock star Melissa Etheridge puts in a brief appearance to sign Ellen up as gay and give Ellen's friend her toaster. Thus the shirt, "Ask me how you can win a toaster."
--a Finnish artist (whose last name I can never remember) who draws extremely sexy pictures of heavily-muscled men wearing very butch clothing, such as lumberjack, sailor, or biker outfits. There is now a Tom of Finland line of clothing as well.
--a catch-all term for anyone crossing gender or sex boundaries (transgender, transsexual, transvestite, etc.). Capitalized when referring to the community in general by those who view it as an ethnic designation similar to African American or Jewish.
--1) anyone who crosses gender boundaries, including, but not limited to, transsexuals and transvestites. 2) a person who lives mostly or completely in the gender not associated with their birth sex, but who does not identify as a transsexual.
--a person whose birth sex is viewed by hir as incorrect or incompatible with hir image of hirself, and who takes steps (including but not limited to physical and/or hormone therapy, and surgery) to make hir outer self match hir self-identification.
--anyone who regularly dresses in clothing associated with the opposite gender or sex. Some people cross-dress for pleasure (it is a variety of fetish); others have other reasons. A Trans person is often considered a transvestite by mainstream culture, while s/hehirself may find hir clothing perfectly suitable for one with hir self-image.
--used to refer to lesbians who fall in love at first sight and move in right away with a new lover. This phenomenon is so well-known within the lesbian community that it resulted in the joke "What does a lesbian take on her second date? A U-haul."
--the most extreme kind of vegetarian, one who will eat no meat or animal product, including dairy products or eggs. Most will not use animal products of any sort, such as leather. An increasing number of lesbians are vegetarian and vegan.
--(1854-1900) one of the great bisexual or gay (and Irish) poets, authors, and dramatists, Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray (his only novel, highly criticzed as immoral), plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, and poems such as "The Ballad of Reading Gaol." Oscar Wilde married Costance Lloyd and had two sons with her. Later, he began a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, whose parents had him arrested and jailed for it. Wilde died in poverty and disgrace.
--the lesbian feminist definition of lesbian
White Party, The
--one of the "circuit parties," it is a mostly-gay-male party to which all attendees wear all-white. The White Party is held in South Beach Miami. Circuit parties are fundraisers for AIDS organizations, although some AIDS activists object to them, saying that they encourage the very unsafe-sex and drug use that sped the spread of AIDS.